Today we’d like to introduce you to Tyler Ingram.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Sometimes some of the biggest hardships in life can be used to create something really great.
I originally started my company as Hamble when I was still in college at the University of Missouri. That was back in December of 2017, and this year I rebranded it as Third & Monroe. While the name Third & Monroe is new, the core message is still the same: we are an online clothing boutique that donates to women’s shelters and aims to spread the message that your future does not have to be defined by your past!
A few years ago, I was in a relationship that eventually became very toxic and abusive for me. Most people that know me would say I’ve always been a confident person, but I essentially lost every ounce of confidence I had in myself.
Through a lot of self-reflection and personal growth, I was able to get to the other side of that pain and wanted to find a way to help others going through the same.
I’ve always wanted to start a business and use it to make a positive impact in the world but didn’t have a specific cause that I was especially passionate about. This experience really opened my eyes to just how common abusive relationships are, and I saw it as a perfect opportunity to turn my negative situation into a positive for others! I started the company with the mindset that if it could positively impact even just one person’s life, then it will have been a success.
To be completely honest, I never would’ve thought I would be the founder of a boutique. I have zero fashion knowledge or background, but I already had connections to a few suppliers and other boutique owners, so I decided to pursue it and just get started! Along the way, I’ve gained a new appreciation for fashion and how people use clothing as a way to express themselves. Our brand is all about finding yourself and being confident, and I really view clothing as a great medium to spread that message.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Overall, I’d say the experience has been very positive. It hasn’t always been easy though, and I’ve definitely faced a lot of challenges along the way. I didn’t have the resources to outsource anything, so I taught myself everything from web design to digital marketing, and built the entire brand from scratch. This took around 5 months of diligent research and trial/error. Pretty much everything I was doing was new to me, so there was a big learning curve that required a lot of patience. I also faced a lot of self-doubt along the way and often found myself questioning whether it would be worth it in the end. I think it’s natural to go through that sort of “imposter syndrome” phase – and it never fully goes away – but the cause was so important to me that it always kept me going in times when I wanted to quit.
By far, the biggest challenge has been figuring out how to get the word out and expand the reach of the brand. Most people that hear about Third & Monroe have been extremely supportive of it, but it’s been difficult getting it in front of new audiences to maximize the impact we can make. The first few months after the website launched, it had minimal traffic. I believed in the brand and was confident it would be successful eventually, but I don’t think I fully realized how long it would take to build momentum.
I ended up contacting a few sororities at Mizzou to see if they’d have me speak and share my story at their weekly chapter meetings. I was a bit nervous to share my story in front of so many people, but the feedback and support was overwhelmingly positive. I eventually reached out to other organizations on campus as well as other universities to maximize the impact of the brand.
The more I shared my story, the more the word began to spread. A few local news publications had contacted me to do a story on the brand, and that’s been very helpful in getting the message out there! I eventually plan to hire a marketing or PR firm to spread the message on an even larger scale.
Another big challenge I faced was the impact of COVID-19. I take a lot of pride in the quality of our clothing and the experience that we give our customers, and it became a lot harder to keep up with our regular shipping and quality standards during the pandemic. Because of this, I ultimately decided it would be best to close the store down temporarily until we could provide the quality and service that our customers deserve.
Over the last year, the website’s been under construction as I’ve partnered with new suppliers to help us meet our quality standards and fulfill orders within 5-10 days.
The rebrand of Third & Monroe will be launched January 15th, 2022, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring it back and continue making a difference!
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Third & Monroe?
We provide ethically made and stylish clothing at affordable prices while donating part of every purchase to women’s shelters throughout the country!
When our customers shop with us, they become part of our Comeback Community and receive updates on how their purchase has gone to benefit someone to get back on their feet after leaving an abusive situation. Our donations go to a number of different things – paying for emergency shelter, clothing, groceries, home lock replacement, etc.
We strongly believe that your future does not have to be defined by your past and that you have the power to create your own Comeback Story!
Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
Honestly, I feel like it sounds a bit cliche but what makes me happiest is being “unapologetically me”. To me, that means choosing to live the life I want and not the life I think others expect of me, living 100% in my values, and being comfortable in my own skin. It’s something I’ve struggled with throughout my life, but the confidence and freedom that it gives is indescribable.
Sharing my story has been really freeing and helpful in accepting myself.
Whether it’s an abusive situation, the loss of a loved one, addiction, or any number of other things – we all go through tough times in life. And the more we keep it in, the more it causes us to feel alone and like our situation is unique to us. You can’t control what happens to you, but you do have the power to decide what you do with it.
I’m thankful to have taken some positives from my negative situation, and it makes me really happy to be able to help others do the same!
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.thirdandmonroe.com/
- Instagram: @thirdandmonroe